Israeli troops early Thursday killed two armed Palestinian militants suspected to trying to infiltrate through the Gaza Strip border. The troops opened fire on the two militants as they were in the midst of laying explosives at the fence near Kibbutz Kfar Aza. None of the soldiers was wounded.
Hamas would honor referendum on peace with Israel, Haniyeh says
The Islamist Hamas movement, whose charter advocates the elimination of Israel, would accept the outcome of a Palestinian referendum on a future peace treaty with the Jewish state, its Gaza leader said on Wednesday.
Ismail Haniyeh, addressing a rare news conference in the Israeli-blockaded enclave, signaled a softening of Hamas's long-standing position prohibiting the ceding of any part of the land of what was British-mandated Palestine until 1948.
"We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees," Haniyeh said, referring to the year of Middle East war in which Israel captured East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories.
"Hamas will respect the results (of a referendum) regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles," he said, provided it included all Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora.
The Hamas charter, drafted in 1988, regards all of the land of Palestine, including what is now Israel, as the heritage of Muslims. The idea of a referendum on a future peace accord with Israel was rejected by some Hamas leaders when it was proposed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas several months ago.
No al-Qaida in Gaza
Gaza's Hamas prime minister was adamant: There is no alqaida presence in Gaza, rebuffing what he said were Israeli allegations possibly meant to justify military action against the territory. At the same time, a new homegrown crop of zealots — even if only inspired by the global terror network — is increasingly turning into a problem for Gaza's ruling Islamic militants speaking at a rare news conference for foreign reporters on Wednesday, he suggested that claims of an al-Qaida foothold are part of an Israeli attempt to further discredit the group already shunned by much of the World and to perhaps justify action against Gaza in the framework of the global war against terror."There is no such thing as al-Qaida in Gaza," Haniyeh insisted. "The Palestinian resistance does not work outside the borders of palestine ."